The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested a driver, houseboy and two other domestic staff, whose names were used by four companies to open bank accounts for Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The companies are Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Limited, Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited and Globus Integrated Service Limited.
The four companies’ accounts, which have since been frozen by the EFCC, have a balance of about $15m while another account, which bears Patience Jonathan’s name, has $5m.
The former First Lady who said she owns the money in the accounts said she gave millions of dollars to the then Special Adviser to the President on Domestic Affairs, Waripamowei Dudafa, to open accounts for her.
But a detective at the EFCC revealed that Dudafa used his domestic servants’ names to open the four other accounts and then deposited the money into the accounts.
“We were investigating Dudafa when we stumbled on those four companies’ domiciliary accounts opened at Skye Bank with a balance of about $15m. On further investigation, we were able to identify the directors of the companies.
“When we detained the directors, we found out that they were Dudafa’s domestic servants. One of them was a houseboy while another one was a driver. Their photographs were used in opening the accounts and their signatures were forged.
“We found out that these domestic servants were completely innocent because they had no access to the accounts. We have since released them. The sole signatory to the accounts was Patience Jonathan and she was issued with a special card, which is accepted worldwide. She has a separate account, which was opened in her name and has a balance of $5m,” he said.
EFCC source also said two Skye Bank executives, Demola Bolodeoku and Dipo Oshodi, who helped Dudafa to open the accounts on March 22, 2010, were also being investigated.
“This is a clear case of fraud and there is no way the bank officials will say they did not know what was going on. They are under investigation and those found culpable will be arraigned,” the detective added.
The EFCC operative said he could not confirm if the transaction was reported to the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit revealing that the commission had discovered a trend which politicians used in laundering and concealing funds.
“What we have noticed is that in order to conceal funds, what politicians and top civil servants do is to open bank accounts in the name of family or friends and then make themselves the sole signatory to the account.
“Don’t forget that we traced about 17 bank accounts to the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.).
“Often times, they do this in connivance with bank officials and that is why the EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has said henceforth, whenever we are investigating a bank official, we will probe the entire bank as well because these officials usually act under the instruction of their superiors.”
Jonathan’s wife has, however, sued Skye Bank for freezing her bank accounts and giving the EFCC vital information about her finances.